Old Bike Australasia: Bultaco Metralla — Bully for you — Shannons Club

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Bultaco Metralla 250

Old Bike Australasia: Bultaco — Bully for you

Story: Jim Photos: Sue Scaysbrook

Bulto was a of the Montesa company, which motorcycle production in 1944. had steadily built its business a range of two-… bikes, racing success as its main of promotion. However the move to premises in 1957 coincided a slump in the Spanish economy, and a by the company’s majority shareholder to all racing activity met with disapproval from Bulto.

So he quit Montesa and started his own taking with him several of key employees.

Bultaco was set up in an old farmhouse and in 1959 launched its first the 125 cc Tralla 101 (Spanish for whiplash). styled and a spirited performer, the was an instant hit, particularly a near-standard model finished outright in the prestigious Montjuic 24 Race in Barcelona later in the

Several features of the Tralla 101 synonymous with all subsequent such as the big exhaust port and crankcases, and, on the road the suede strip in the centre of the In 1962, the Tralla’s engine was out to 196 cc by overboring the maximum size using the original crankcases, to the Metralla 62, Metralla being for Shrapnel in the artillery sense. The year, the Tralla 101 was superceded by the 102 and was visually identical (apart some minor things) to the 62 in all respects except the capacity of 125 cc.

And so we come to the subject of our story, the Mk2 of 1966. Now a full 250 cc (well, cc actually), the ‘big’ Bully a 5-speed gearbox, poked out hp at 7,500 rpm and was good for a genuine 100 In this respect, it came into competition with the T20, another 100 mph 250 and which a good deal more tweaks, particularly in the electrical than the Metralla.

But in reality the two were poles apart as you expect in a Japan versus situation; one perfectly behaved impeccable attention to detail an automatic oiling system Posiforce), the other a rorty pug with a real Latin and few frills.

At this point I introduce John Somerville, the of the Metralla in Australia; a man who is a self-confessed (he owns over 20, including the Robb factory Isle of Man Some years ago John did all owners a big favour by writing the book on the subject Bultaco mi which covers absolutely aspect of the model, from its as the Trala in 1959 to its ultimate as the Metralla GTS of 1979. The book is out of now but if you’re contemplating a dalliance a Metralla, you’d be well to seek a second hand

250 production action; Gordon at Oran Park in 1967

deliveries of the Metralla Mk2 began in and the first models were in either red/silver or black/silver. sums up the market this, type of person who bought bikes fell into two (1) Those who knew just how these bikes went and not blinded by all the chrome and lights of the bikes at the time, and (2) Those who them just because were the cheapest 250 at that (In 1967 the Metralla Mk2 had a retail of $640.00 in NSW).

The Metralla plenty of preventative maintenance to it running properly, and the replacement of all with Nylock nuts and to stop bits vibrating The lights usually needed to get a few extra candle power and them from blowing/vibrating Fork oil needed to be increased the 55 cc specified to 100 cc to allow the forks to and the rear shocks needed servicing.

On some bikes the had not been properly aligned at the so the bike would vibrate a bit but align the crank and it was a very and powerful engine (for Apart from that regular maintenance was required but the rider who did nothing!”

Spartan it may been, but the Metralla had some nice touches, notably the rear chain. Early used a cast alloy to enclose the rear sprocket, individual rubber sleeves the top and bottom chain run. not only significantly prolonged the of the chain, it kept the back end of the free of muck.

Early fork legs had no plugs, which was a major and meant each leg had to be removed to the oil. This was rectified on models.

A major difference Australian (and European) and models was the headlight and taillight. US called for lights that approved by various state so the normal direct lighting was a no-go. In place of the Spanish 12-volt Lucas lights used.

American models, of which found their way to also have high-mounted handlebars instead of the individual for local models. Metrallas with both 6 and 12 volt for the system, and the 12 volt system is fitted with a Zenner As John Somerville says, standard lights on the Metralla Mk2 as set up at the are reputed to be almost useless for at night, but they can be improved.

The … of headlight and tail bulbs is vibration. Fit a rubber on each of the headlight mount between the headlight shell and the brackets on the front forks. To get a headlight, replace the standard one one from a Japanese bike; will fit straight into the headlight rim.

These have the benefit of the light forwards (the Hensev light reflects as much light up, down and as forwards) and also have a bulb for greatly increased life. A Zenner diode be fitted to restrict the flow of current. To further improve lights, disconnect the speedo (the speedo probably work anyway) and the high indicator light.

If your is 6 volts, fit a 12 volt tail bulb, it will draw the amps of the 6 volt bulb. the air-gap between the coils and the flywheel to the absolute minimum.”

Bultaco Metralla 250

The 250 although following basic principles, was a very spirited Early models used a 27 mm Monobloc carburetor, which was replaced with a 30 mm Monobloc and a 32 mm Concentric Mk.1. Another modification was the fitting of an oil tank the right hand tool box a handoperated pump which oil to the petrol tank.

John describes the procedure that the use of the oil tank. “Pump out 10 strokes of oil a measuring cylinder and divide by ten to how much oil is pumped per …. filling up with petrol, multiply the number of strokes of oil you into the tank by 25 (for a mix) and fill the tank this amount of petrol. I been using the oil pump on my Metralla for 31 years.

It works perfectly and is very having”.

Winner of the 1967 of Man Production Lightweight TT, Bill corners his Metralla at Quarter

From what has been so far, it is obvious that as a bike, the Metralla left a few to be desired, particularly compared to the sophisticated offerings from and Yamaha at the time. But as a sports it punched far above its weight.

In form for Production Racing the was a rocket, as evidenced by its domination at where it won the 250 Production Race in (Kevin Fraser first, Arnold second), and 1969 McDonald first, Kevin second). At Oran Park, the Lightweight Production was one of the hardestfought on the program, Kevin Fraser was unbeatable.

A Race Kit was offered for the and under the very loose for the Isle of Man Production TT, was eligible for the event. A three-bike team of bikes entered by Harry the Bultaco importer for Southern cleaned up the 1967 Production 250 TT, Englishman Bill Smith (averaging an impressive 88.63 Ulsterman Tommy Robb and Australia’s Kevin Cass

The Robb bike eventually to Australia to Wangaratta collector Ken and is now owned by John Somerville. The ‘race kit’ comprised a barrel, a piston with the skirt shortened by 2 mm, a head 12:1 compression ratio, electronic ignition, expansion exhaust, close-ratio gearbox, jets and a plastic bellmouth for the

There was also a large fiberglass fuel tank different supports and strap, a style seat, dropped handlebars, rear ser footrests, brake lever and gear and a bikini-style fairing. It was a fairly job to fit the race kit to a standard Metralla, and the was a competitive racer, at least the Yamaha twins took

Only 5,508 Mk2 Metrallas made between 1966 and so they are a comparatively rare today and highly sought-after. The name did survive post-1972, but in a different form. The Metralla GT was at the US and used the redesigned engine the later 250/370 motocross in a conventional full loop frame with a slightly exhaust silencer.

This was by the very similar Metralla GTS in and finally by the 1979 GTS which cast alloy wheels of spoked items.

Bultaco Metralla 250
Bultaco Metralla 250
Bultaco Metralla 250


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